Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints have agreed to a two-year deal with quarterback Drew Brees, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The new pact is worth $50MM and contains $27MM in guarantees. While the contract is technically two years, it will actually be for one year with a team option for 2019, and also contains a full no-trade clause, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Brees’ current contract with New Orleans will void on March 14, the first day of the 2018 league year, and if no new deal is reached, the Saints will incur $18MM in dead money on their salary cap. By hammering out an extension, the Saints will keep that dead money total at a relatively manageable $6MM in 2018 while retaining their franchise quarterback.
Although he was allowed to speak to other clubs beginning on Monday, Brees was never seriously expected to leave New Orleans. However, he did reportedly speak with the quarterback-needy Vikings, which could have given him a bit of leverage in talks with the Saints.
While Brees didn’t post his typically gaudy offensive statistics in 2017, that was largely by design, as he attempted only 536 pass attempts, his lowest in a full 16-game slate since 2005 (his final year with the Chargers). New Orleans built an offense that doesn’t have to fully rely on Brees, as the club ranked first in rushing DVOA and second in pressure rate allowed. Buoyed by Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and a strong offensive line, Brees ranked second in passer rating and adjusted net yards per attempt, and third in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA, which measures value on a per-play basis.
Brees expressed his desire to return to the Saints following their loss to the Vikings in the NFC Divisional playoffs. A contract that will give Brees $25MM annually will match Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in terms of average annual salary for third among NFL players, placing him behind Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ($27MM) and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5MM).